Free Stuff

A very successful social media guru recently said that one great way to make your business take off rapidly is to give away free stuff. Not t-shirts and pens. Solutions. If people can get good answers to small problems from you for free, they’ll start thinking about how great your answers will be for bigger problems, leading you to be foremost in their mind when said big problems occur.

I agree that the idea is sound. However, shortly after listening to said guru, I got three emails from three different places, all wanting to give me a free webinar or send me a free white paper or some such. See, there’s free, and then there’s free. Sure, the webinar and the white paper did not cost money, but actually making use of them does require precious time. In today’s society, time is often more valuable than money. Scott Adams, creature of the famous Dilbert comic strip, had a great blog post a while back. You can read it here and it even has a (not-really Dilbert) comic on the top. Whether you agree with his idea for how to structure taxes or not, the general idea he presents – as you acquire wealth, you’re willing to spend more money to have more free time – is true.

So back to the first idea – stuff that doesn’t cost money. That idea works better in a business to consumer environment. Consumers often base purchasing decisions on price. In a business to business setting, however? Maybe not so much. Sure, we all still look for the free solution to our problem before we decide to invest capital in it. But if I can solve my problem by spending $50 of the company’s money and 1 hour of my time or $0 of the company’s money and 1 day of my time, I’ll often choose the $50 route.

So the idea here is that you want to solve small problems and do so in a way that is not time-intensive. Don’t make your potential new client sit through a 45 minute webinar, give you their email address, city, state, zip, telephone number, blood type, and name of their first born. Make use of more simple channels, get the solutions out there, and let them be on their way. If they like your solution and it was quick and easy, they’ll come back.

Time for some feedback. If you read this far, it is quite possible that you find what I’m saying to be somewhat interesting or effective. Or you feel obligated because you’re my wife. Either way, thank you. But what direction should I go next? Here are a few options for you:

1. A few tips for FB posts for your business.
2. Some website evaluation tools.
3. A dissertation on why Spider-man 3 shouldn’t have happened.
4. Interesting (maybe) social media statistics.
5. Something else?

Keep in mind that I have to somehow tie what I write into KK BOLD and stuff. So the Spider-man 3 thing is probably out (though I’d love to hear ideas of how to spin it into an interesting marketing piece). Also, if nobody follows up at all with any of the choices, I’m totally taking that to management as a reason that Erik and Clay should always write this stuff, not me. Which won’t work, and will make me look bad. So hey throw an idea out there if you don’t like the ones I have!

Kalvin Kingsley is the Operations Director at KK BOLD. He has found that finding an image that says Free that is actually free is harder than one might think.

Posted on June 13, 2011 in KK BOLD

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